Teton Conservation District

The U.S. FIsh & Wildlife Service, in September 2015, decided against listing the Greater Sage-Grouse as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.  

Teton Conservation District is a member of the Upper Snake River Basin Local Working Group (LWG).  The LWG was established in September 2004 to develop a Conservation Plan and support the implementation of projects that benefit sage-grouse and other sagebrush obligate species in the Upper Snake River Basin Conservation Area (USRBCA). The purpose of the plan is to promote management that results in functional sagebrush plant communities for sage-grouse and other species that use sagebrush environments.  In 2014, a revised version of the Conservation Plan was written (here).  

The Conservation Plan identifies strategies and commitments to support the maintenance of sage-grouse in the USRBCA, which generally includes the entire Snake River Basin in Teton, Lincoln, and Sublette counties in Wyoming and addresses management of four small, isolated populations in Jackson Hole, the Gros Ventre Valley, Hoback Basin and an interstate population shared by Wyoming and Idaho in the Salt River drainage. According to the Conservation Assessment of Greater Sage-Grouse and Sagebrush Habitats (Connelly et al. 2004), sage-grouse have declined across their range during the past 50 years, as has the quality and distribution of the bird’s requisite sagebrush-steppe habitat. Therefore, this local conservation effort is part of a larger effort in Wyoming and over the range of sage-grouse in the West. The intent of this range-wide effort is to provide local support and actions to address sage-grouse conservation issues which, when considered in the context of a larger state and regional effort, will preclude the need for listing the species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Goals of the LWG are to: (1) Maintain, enhance, or restore sage grouse habitat to maintain or increase the abundance and distribution of sage-grouse, and improve population and habitat monitoring within the USRBCA; (2) Manage factors contributing to direct mortality of sage-grouse; (3) Identify private and state owned lands with existing or potential sage-grouse habitat value and minimize future impacts to sage grouse resulting from either transfer of ownership and/or changes in land use practices; (4) Contribute to sage-grouse research, and (5) Inform and educate the public, landowners, government agencies and others within the USRBCA about issues related to sage-grouse conservation. It is important to understand the working group can only make recommendations to agencies, organizations, and landowners and must rely on these entities to carry out the plan.

Significant activities of the LWG from 2008-2013 included the support of research to better understand seasonal sage-grouse distribution related to vegetation and other factors; a study in Jackson Hole to examine sage-grouse population parameters, habitat selection, seasonal movements, and interactions with raven populations; contributing to the Grand Teton National Park Kelly Hayfields Restoration Project; interacting with the Jackson Hole Airport regarding management conflicts with sage-grouse; and supporting genetics research at the local to range-wide level.

The group includes 14 members representing major interests and government agencies within the USRBCA. LWG members represent their particular interests and provide liaison with the groups they represent. The LWG will continue to meet about four times annually to work on plan implementation. Meetings are generally half day sessions and include a public comment period.

  WGFD Map of the Sage Grouse Core Management Areas

Click here for Wyoming Game & Fish's fact sheet on the greater sage-grouse.